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May 04, 2009


Tom M

I thought for sure I was going to see the mother from A Child Called It.


It's Weasley, not Wesley.


Tom: I kept it to works of fiction, so A Child Called It, and several other autobiographical books were kept off the list because they are non-fiction. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit has been considered by some to be semi-autobiographical but it is still labeled as fiction so I decided to draw the line there. However what you say is true, the mother in A Child Called It was a monster.

Suzy: Thanks, I have corrected my error!

James Van Eaton

What a fun and twisted way to celebrate mothers day. Good list. I do have one point of contention though. Number 1, hands down, should be Ruth from Jack Ketchem's novel "the Girl Next Door." I got sick to my stomach reading that book, and the most disturbing thing is that Ketchem tells you, at the end, that the whole thing is based on a real person AND that he toned it down.


The parents in Gennifer Cholodenko's "Notes from a Liar and her Dog" are the worst parents in children's literature. Great book—terrible parents.


Also, can we have a follow up—worst FATHERS in literature?!

Max Dunbar

Eva Khatchadourian?

The worst fathers list is a great idea

Gwyn Headley

Lady Macbeth (Gruoch) deserves an honorable mention:
I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.

Now THERE's a mother!


Shakespeare did have a knack for the evil mother didn't he.

Sounds good guys, by popular demand and in the name of gender equity I will do a worst fathers in fiction list next month. For Fathers day to be fair...

If you want to drop a suggestion you can do so at my name at bookfinder.com.


What, no Medea?


Ha! Eva Khatchadourian, definitely.

blood in stool

what a luvly compilation. At least we can all learn in the real world.


How about a terrible children list?
Veda from Mildred Pierce would be at the top for me


not to be too rude, but astringed? i'm pretty sure you meant estranged :O)


The worst mother in french literature: the dreaded Folcoche, in Hervé Bazin's Vipère au Poing (Viper in the Fist). The stuff of my childhood's nightmares.


I really hope that some of these are facetious.... Also, please correct the litany of typos and grammar errors. Possessive apostrophes being missed out? "To" instead of "too"? Complete lack of hyphens being used where they definitely ought to be? *guh*


Edna Pontellier from "The Awakening" was far worse than Sarah from Little Children , as far as examples of women indulging their own self-discovery over responsibilities of motherhood

Yolanda Garfield

I think you have to decide: evil, or just crazy? Because there's a difference. And I also think that crazy can do evil but the person is just sick, sick, sick. And why isn't there a list for Worst Fathers in Literature? That's a real question by the way.


where's Medea???


Hey Scott, this top ten list is fantastic. Norma Bates would be my #1, she is CRAZY!!! Plus I love Hitchcock movies so that pick has a soft spot with me. You can post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.


what about Matilda's parents in the book by Roald Dahl? There are a lot of wicked step mothers in children's books and fairy tales


What about Kathy from "East Of Eden"? No maternal instinct, and probably no socially redeeming graces


The most glaring omission I saw was Ingrid Magnussen from "White Oleander." Moms don't get much colder, manipulative, and self-centered than her.


My personal fave: Jeanette Walls' mom in The Glass Castle.


What about "Bastard Out of Carolina"?

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